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research-article

MCFC as means for post-combustion CO2 capture through retrofitting coal-fired steam plants and natural gas-fired combined cycles: technical analysis and economic assessment

[+] Author and Article Information
Maurizio Spinelli

Politecnico di Milano, Via Lambruschini 4, 20156 Milano, Italy
maurizio.spinelli@polimi.it

Stefano Campanari

Politecnico di Milano, Via Lambruschini 4, 20156 Milano, Italy
stefano.campanari@polimi.it

Stefano Consonni

Politecnico di Milano, Via Lambruschini 4, 20156 Milano, Italy
stefano.consonni@polimi.it

Matteo C. Romano

Politecnico di Milano, Via Lambruschini 4, 20156 Milano, Italy
matteo.romano@polimi.it

Thomas G. Kreutz

Princeton University, Princeton Environmental Institute, Princeton University, Princeton, NJ 08544, USA
kreutz@princeton.edu

Hossein Ghezel-Ayagh

Fuel Cell Energy, Inc., 3 Great Pasture Road, Danbury, CT 06813, USA
hghezel@fce.com

Stephen Jolly

Fuel Cell Energy, Inc., 3 Great Pasture Road, Danbury, CT 06813, USA
sjolly@fce.com

1Corresponding author.

ASME doi:10.1115/1.4038601 History: Received December 13, 2016; Revised August 28, 2017

Abstract

The state-of-the-art conventional technology for post combustion capture of CO2 from fossil-fuelled power plants is based on chemical solvents, which requires substantial energy consumption for regeneration. A promising alternative, available in the near future, is the application of Molten Carbonate Fuel Cells (MCFC) for CO2 separation from post-combustion flue gases. Previous studies related to this technology showed high efficiency and high carbon capture rates, especially when the fuel cell is thermally integrated in the flue gas path of a natural gas-fired combined cycle or an integrated gasification combined cycle plant. This work compares the application of MCFC based CO2 separation process to pulverized coal fired steam cycles (PCC) and natural gas combined cycles (NGCC) as a 'retrofit' to the original power plant. Mass/energy balances are calculated through detailed models for both power plants, with MCFC behavior simulated using a 0D model calibrated against manufacturers' specifications and based on experimental measurements, carried out to support this study. The resulting analysis includes a comparison of the energy efficiency and CO2 separation efficiency as well as an economic comparison of the cost of CO2 avoided under several economic scenarios. The proposed configurations reveal promising performance, exhibiting very competitive efficiency and economic metrics in comparison with conventional CO2 capture technologies. Application as a MCFC retrofit yields a very limited (<3%) decrease in efficiency for both power plants (PCC and NGCC), a strong reduction (>80%) in CO2 emission and a competitive cost for CO2 avoided (25-40 €/ton).

Copyright (c) 2017 by ASME
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